The Environment and Land Court has stripped the Parliament powers to probe rule on land disputes. Sitting in Mombasa yesterday, Justice Munyao Sila ruled that only the National Land Commission (NLC) has the powers to rule on land disputes and their decisions cannot be reviewed by the Mps.
Justice Sila was ruling in a case where Mombasa Cement Company had challenged a report by the National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Lands that revoked its title-deeds to two parcels of land in Kilifi.
The parliament’s committee had ruled Mombasa Cement acquired the land irregularly and recommended the Lands Ministry to reposes the land and use it to resettle squatters who were claiming it.
That report was adopted by Parliament in 2015.
Mombasa Cement bought the parcels of land measuring about 499 acres and 173.7 acres from Vipingo Estate Ltd in 2005. Vipingo snubbed summons by the Committee arguing that the matter had already been probed and determined by NLC in 2013.
Mombasa Cement insisted that NLC ruled in its favor but the parliamentary committee still went on to probe ownership of the said parcels of land and recommend Lands Ministry to posses it.
“The following are the final orders of this Court: that it is hereby declared that the NLC when conducting its functions under the Constitution is not subject to control or direction by the National Assembly or any of neither its committees nor the control or direction of the Cabinet Secretary of Lands and Physical Planning,” Justice Sila ruled.
His ruling limits the role of the parliament and it’s committees in proping matters that are handled by other constitutional bodies. He also ruled that decisions by NLC as a constitutional commission are not subject to appeal or review by the Parliament and its committees.